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HMC Holds Down’s Syndrome Workshop

Focusing on parents of children with special needs, the Occupational Therapy Department (OTD) of Hamad Medical Corporation () conducted a Down’s Syndrome Awareness Workshop, recently.

The one-day event, which attracted approximately 30 participants, was one in a series of workshops designed to reach out to parents, particularly the mothers of children with Down’s Syndrome. Its aim was to raise awareness, educate and train parents about rehabilitation techniques they need in the home setting.

“Down’s Syndrome children have a higher tendency to suffer from congenital heart diseases, with around 50 percent of them suffering from this ailment, as well as gastro-intestinal problems, including duodenal narrowing, thyroid problems and respiratory illnesses amongst others,” said Dr Sona Tahtamouni, Paediatrician at HMC. “This is why we really need to educate parents about the health issues and their root causes, so that the appropriate treatment can be given to these children by parents as well as by healthcare professionals.”

“Events of these kind act as an important bridge between the medical professionals and the general public. Based on the positive feedback given by parents at previous workshops, the concentration is focused on parents of new patients, to train them with techniques to cope with illnesses their children may suffer from,” said Fatima Mustafa from the OTD and the workshop’s coordinator, underlining the need for continuity in providing such workshops.

A series of lectures, given by specialists in the fields of Paediatrics, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Special Education were presented, focusing on theoretical information and practical methods to face the challenges of nurturing children with Down’s Syndrome.

The lectures focused on understanding the root causes, and on developing the mental and physical skills, perceptual, speech, daily living and behavioural problems of Down’s Syndrome children. Medical aspects were underlined, providing an overview of the causes of Down’s syndrome and the genes involved, potential congenital abnormalities associated with Down’s syndrome births, and the long-term health effects that these children may face.

The parents were given the opportunity to ask questions and discuss particular issues with the physicians and specialists present at the workshop. The lectures were followed with experts illustrating methods to develop skills of children with Down’s syndrome, including cognition and speech, behavioural problems and day-to-day living.

In recognition of the importance of parents’ role in the rehabilitation of Down’s Syndrome children, it was a chance for them to gain in-depth awareness of the illness.

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